February 22, 2019
Songs for your Weekend
February 22, 2019
January 5, 2019
COMMENT | The last time I used a no-frills airline was three years ago. I flew on EasyJet flying from London’s Gatwick to Zurich for 25 pounds sterling. The last trip to KLIA2 was two years ago to pick up my daughter who was returning from Auckland.
In early May, I took a decision (like many other Malaysians) not to opt for the no-frills airline operating in Malaysia. I didn’t buy the story of the “pressure” and neither was I convinced that livery could have been designed, manufactured and stuck on an Airbus in a matter of days. We’ll leave that for another day.
But if I had stepped into the terminal of KLIA2 (what people call a “shopping complex” in an airport) and noticed maggots coming out of a rubbish bin, I would whip out my mobile phone and take images of them. I would then pen a commentary with a link to the video.
If I had put it on social media, I would have merely been a citizen carrying out my civil duties and perhaps doing “national service” to point out shortcomings in the system. Since I pay a princely sum to Malaysian Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) for passenger service charges, I would expect a certain level of standards, especially when it comes to hygiene and food safety.
That was precisely what AirAsia Head of communications Mohd Aziz Laikar Ali did. Instead of being appreciated for his services, he was initially summoned by the police to have his statement today for “hurting” the image of MAHB.
(Aziz has since clarified that his “meeting” with the police to have his statement taken is not taking place but this is not the real issue. The about-turn obviously came due to public displeasure and negative vibes that both organisations created.)
The crux of the issue is that Aziz had posted a video showing a rubbish bin covered with maggots at the airport while questioning a “fancy” statement issued by MAHB last week about its commendable performance in airport management for the month of October this year. Why did the police call him in the first place? Why did MAHB file a police report? What necessitated it?
For MAHB and the police, you have done damage to yourselves and are now trying to repair or contain that damage. This is an exercise in futility and the outcomes remain inconsequential. In short, both shot themselves in their respective feet and are suffering the consequences.
As one who stood up and vehemently opposed the Anti-Fake News Bill early this year, I had warned about authorities misusing the legislation. Had it not been revoked, there could have been dire circumstances. Even so, this is no fake news unless Aziz had captured the images elsewhere and purported it as at one of the gates. That’s just too farfetched even to imagine.
Like-minded citizens are the least interested in a war of words or dispute between Air Asia and MAHB but to use the police to silence a citizen (wherever he or she is employed) smacks of conceit, thoughtlessness, and arrogance and above all sheer stupidity.
Didn’t the bigwigs at MAHB consider the backlash they would face for such an odious and hateful move against a legitimate grouse of an airport user? Or were they under the impression that their shortcomings would be suppressed by bullying the ordinary man?
To suggest that Aziz had maliciously circulated the pictures should be summarily dismissed as sheer nonsense. Would they have done the same to the scores of disgruntled passengers who write to the media or use other platforms to air their grouses?
And the police, what the heck are you doing? Why are you wasting valuable time, effort and money pursuing this case when you should be catching criminals and keeping our streets safe? If you are so bothered about protecting the image of MAHB, shouldn’t you be protecting the image of this country as a multi-racial and tolerant society?
Every day, scores of racist and defamatory statements are posted on social media. Last night, someone stood up and spoke at a rally in Klang. He provoked the crowd and threatened to attack a police station. Yet, the Police stood as silent as the grave, arms folded and allowed the speaker to pour scorn (without any basis) on individuals and organisations. (We have since been told that the case is being investigated.)
It is these kinds of action and inaction that prompt people to have a negative view of the Police Force. The people would be happier if the same effort is put into maintaining some semblance of law and order in the drop-off and pick-up points at the airport.
So much has been written and said about luxury cars with special number plates being allowed to park in areas where parking is strictly prohibited. The policemen with their summons books walk past appearing oblivious to the vehicles which are causing all the problems.
The MAHB and Police have both damaged their own reputations by indulging in this witch-hunt. People are pouring scorn on the Police for being used to settle a private and commercial dispute. Enough is enough. Get your priorities right.
By the way, should I prepare for a call from the authorities for speaking out? I am not discounting the possibility of MAHB lodging a police report for “hurting” their image. Also not discounted is the police calling me in to have my statement recorded.
R. NADESWARAN has written extensively on the bully-culture in some of our government departments, statutory bodies and agencies. Comments: firstname.lastname@example.org
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.
July 10, 2018
Corruption of Malaysian PM Najib Razak was the major reason Mahatir came out of a 15-year retirement to win elections despite attempts by Najib govt to manipulate the same. Congratulations to Mahatir & the people of Malaysia.
Malaysiakini was four-years-old when Dr Mahathir Mohamad had stepped down as Prime Minister in 2003 at the age of 78.
Never did Malaysiakini, which was born out of the flames of Reformasi in 1998, foresee that when the news portal turns 19 this November, Mahathir would be prime minister again.
The medical doctor from Kedah, who would celebrate his 93rd birthday on July 10 has proven that nothing is impossible in the art of politics and that age is not a barrier to accomplishments.
Thousands of wishes have been pouring in since this morning following a posting on social media regarding his birthday tomorrow.
Malaysiakini‘s wish for his birthday is that Mahathir, whom Malaysians have entrusted to lead the nation once again, would not disappoint their aspirations for change and betterment.
On that note, Malaysiakini would like to take this opportunity to wish Mahathir Happy Birthday and present him with a short account from our journalist Annabelle Lee, who had just returned from a vacation to Australia.
by Annabelle Lee@www.malaysiakini.com
‘Imran Khan hopes to hit a sixer like Dr M’
“Mahathir Mohamad!” Shrieked the Pakistani cab driver in Melbourne when I replied that I was from Malaysia.
The driver, who introduced himself as Murtaza, then rattled on for several minutes about his admiration for the nonagenarian.
“Imran Khan always mentions Mahathir in his speeches as well,” he added in reference to the Pakistani cricket-hero-turned-politician.
Keeping a close tab on the political developments in Pakistan in the run-up to its July 25 general election, Murtaza revealed how Imran, who is the opposition leader, and Pakistanis, in general, have been inspired by Malaysia’s 14th General Election results.
Murtaza is hoping that Imran who would be able to emulate Mahathir and convince Pakistanis to vote for change in the coming polls. Another cab driver in Melbourne of Pakistani origin, whose name I cannot recall, had also sang praises of Mahathir at the mere mention of Malaysia.
On numerous accounts, Imran has labelled Mahathir as one of his role models.
In an interview with a local newspaper, Imran referenced Mahathir to justify the need for a clean leadership to sanitise a corruption-ridden political system.
“This is why I give the example of Mahathir Mohamad, who changed Malaysia with the same political class by giving them clean leadership,” he was quoted as saying.
After Pakatan Harapan’s victory in the May 9 polls, Imran took to Twitter to congratulate Mahathir for winning despite attempts to “manipulate” the election by ousted premier Najib Abdul Razak’s administration.
He also accorded Mahathir’s return to politics to “corruption” by Najib.
March 8, 2018
On Occasion of International Women’s Day, I want to join you in your struggle against all forms of discrimination against women. You are smart, well educated, gusty and beautiful. End Male Dominance forever and do my late Mother a favor. Keep fighting for what is right, just and decent.
Dr Kamsiah Haider at her Specialist Dental Clinic, Taman Tun Dr. Ismail, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
I am proud that my beloved wife, Dr. Kamsiah Haider has always to stood up for her rights with passion and commitment. I never had any problem with her strong belief in equality for women.–Din Merican
February 25, 2018
Wife. Mother. Grandmother. Sister. Aunt. Cousin. Friend. Pioneer.
Although many Malaysians harbour mixed feelings about her husband, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Dr Siti Hasmah Mohamad Ali is both loved and respected.
Marriage to a politician cannot be easy, especially one as active as Mahathir. Yet their marriage has proven both stable and enduring, despite the sacrifices that Siti Hasmah, her husband and their family must endure.
YAB Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah Mohamed Ali–A Model of Probity
The public normally sees a perfectly coiffed woman, dignified and unruffled. Despite the pressures of being married to the nation’s longest serving prime minister, she has always balanced the rigours of his office and the demands of the nation with those of her growing family. Other women would have suffered a nervous breakdown or been more demanding, but Siti Hasmah is too cultured for that.
She was one of the first Malay woman doctors in Malaya, and the first woman to be appointed a medical officer in the Kedah civil service. She likely gave up a full-time career to support her husband in his political position. By then, she was already famous in her own right for championing causes like family planning, women’s health and drug abuse control.
In January, the Shah Alam convention centre was filled with shouts of “Hidup Tun!” when Pakatan Harapan’s Chief Secretary, Saifuddin Abdullah, announced Mahathir as the coalition’s prime ministerial candidate.
The crowd got to its feet, applauding and chanting his name. Mahathir stood and bowed to acknowledge and thank his supporters.
But amid the jubilant cries and noise of celebration, one woman was quietly shedding tears, shoulders hunched and head bowed so that no one could see her face.
Many might have concluded that Siti Hasmah was feeling a surge of emotions over the fact that Mahathir still retained his charm. The truth only emerged a month later, when she said in an interview with Oriental Daily News that she had been emotional because Mahathir was “going for a second round” at 93.
She said they were no longer 56 and 55, as they had been when Mahathir first became prime minister in 1981.
Siti Hasmah will turn 92 in July. Mahathir, who is a year older, must share his wife’s struggles. Nevertheless, he is determined to finish the unresolved business of rebuilding Malaysia before resuming his retirement and having a well-deserved rest.
Anyone who has been on the campaign trail knows that it is strenuous work. Many younger men struggle, but Mahathir’s stamina surpasses the imagination of most.
Today, his speech may be slower than it used to be, but his rejoinders are still strong. He may look smaller, fragile and more wrinkled, but his trademark wit and sarcasm remains. His policies may once have divided the nation, but even those who were affected have been spellbound when meeting him in person.
One man said, “I was ready to confront him and ask him about his controversial policies, but I came away hypnotised. He was so convincing. He spoke calmly and in such a matter-of-fact way that he completely disarmed me.”
Another person said, “At least he has the gumption to take on this battle for the hearts and minds of Malaysia. It must be grueling work. To speak off the cuff. To answer the questions. To travel from one ceramah to another. To be prepared for every eventuality, like the time some ruffians set off flares. Mahathir is not a young man, but he manages, with apparent ease.”
At a time, when he could be enjoying the solitude of his books, the company of his grandchildren and the hospitality of his friends, Mahathir feels it his responsibility to lead Malaysia.
He deserves our support to rebuild Malaysia, but his last battle royal in truth hinges on the support of his wife, Siti Hasmah.
Mariam Mokhtar is an FMT columnist.
The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.
January 1, 2018
POLL | Over the past 17 years, Malaysiakini has without fail named a top newsmaker as we bring the curtain down on the year.
A newsmaker is defined as “someone whose actions make news headlines, who effects the course of public discourse and creates an impact in Malaysian politics, for better or worse”.
Malaysiakini has nominated 12 candidates for the Newsmaker of 2017 award. A total of 1,614 participated in the seven-day poll. They voted by indicating their preference for each of the nominees – 0 being the lowest and 10 the highest.
And here’s their verdict – the Newsmaker of 2017 is a man no stranger to controversy. He was runner-up to the Newsmaker of 2016, which went for first the time to an acronym – MO1, or Malaysian Official 1.
This year’s newsmaker is former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, a man loved by some, hated by many.
At 92, he continues to hog the headlines and has come out of retirement – did he really retire? – to spearhead the campaign to oust his protégé-turned-nemesis, PM Najib Razak, from power.
Mahathir has straddled Malaysian politics for the good part of four decades and the nonagenarian is not calling it quits anytime soon. There is even talk about him returning as prime minister should the opposition coalition Pakatan Harapan emerge victorious in the upcoming general elections.
Given his omnipresence in the country’s political landscape, it is not surprising that Mahathir is a four-time winner of the award. He was Newsmaker of 2005 (joint winner with Rafidah Aziz), Newsmaker of 2006 and Newsmaker of 2015.
In second place is Najib, who took home the award last year through his namesake, MO1. MO1 is an acronym used by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) in its civil suit to recover US$1.7 billion in assets allegedly tied to corruption at Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund 1MDB.
The lawsuit, dubbed as the largest ever case brought by DOJ’s Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative, was an attempt to seize assets allegedly bought with “stolen” 1MDB money, among them luxury properties in New York and Los Angeles, Monet and Van Gogh paintings and a Bombardier jet.
The DOJ filed a fresh suit this year and added a few more items to their seizure list – among others, a superyacht, a slew of million-dollar diamonds and rare artworks. It said a total of US$4.5 billion was misappropriated from 1MDB, a fund Najib established in 2009 and whose advisory board he chaired.
No 3 on the list is a “person of interest” in the 1MDB scandal, a term used by US law enforcement when referring to someone who is involved in a criminal investigation who has not been arrested or formally accused of a crime. He is none other than Jho Low, an associate of Najib and the alleged mastermind in the alleged “heist” of 1MDB’s billions.
A flamboyant mover and shaker over the past decade, Low has since gone into hiding and is reportedly dividing his time between Equanimity – the luxury superyacht sought by DOJ, which often seen in international waters off Phuket – and a top hotel in Shanghai.
Next on the list is Najib’s wife, Rosmah Mansor – the woman who likes to be called the First Lady of Malaysia (Flom), and who is also known as Mrs MO1. She is said to be a lover of luxury handbags and for all things bling.
DOJ has alleged that at least US$27.3 million (RM110 million) of 1MDB money was used to buy a 22-carat pink diamond pendant and necklace for “MO1’s wife.”
No 5, 6 and 7 on the list are three Malaysian women of substance – Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, parliamentary opposition leader, Siti Hasmah Ali, devoted wife of Mahathir and Ambiga Sreenevasan, ex-Bar Council chief and Bersih coordinator.
They are followed four other key personalities. In the last spot is Jamal Mohd Yunos, the Sungai Besar UMNO leader who is feted by his party for his publicity stunts, but clearly not a man very popular among Malaysiakini readers.
Here’s the full list:
Mahathir Mohamad, from PM to opposition leader–13,772 points
Najib Razak, also known as MO1 or Le Crook–12,105 points
Jho Low, confidant of MO1–10,702 points
Rosmah Mansor, allegedly Mrs MO1–10,653 points
Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, parliamentary opposition leader–10,605 points
Siti Hasmah Ali, devoted wife of former PM Mahathir–9,923 points
Ambiga Sreenevasan, ex-Bar Council chief and Bersih coordinator–9,203 points
Pastor Pastor Raymond Koh, abducted and fate unknown–8,900 points
Dzulkifli Ahmad, embattled MACC chief–7,690 points
Dr. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, deputy prime minister–6,592 points
Jamal Ikan Bakar Mohd Yunos, Umno leader aka sledgehammer–6,191 points
2016 – MO1
2015 – Mahathir Mohamad
2013 – Rosmah Mansor
2012 – Ambiga Sreenevasan
2011 – Bersih supporters
2010 – Ibrahim Ali
2009 – Teoh Beng Hock
2008 – YOU
2007 – VK Lingam
2006 – Mahathir Mohamad
2004 – S Samy Vellu
2003 – Husam Musa
2002 – Zainuddin Maidin
2001 – Rais Yatim